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Jewels of Cleopatra: Aztec Mysteries

Score: 80%
ESRB: Not Rated
Publisher: Encore
Developer: Boomzap Entertainment
Media: Download/1
Players: 1
Genre: Puzzle

Graphics & Sound:

Jewels of Cleopatra 2: Aztec Mysteries will once again give you control of Dr. Felicity Turnstone as she uncovers another ancient mystery in a match-three style puzzle game that has enough unique mechanics to make it stand out.

Jewels of Cleopatra 2 has a nice clean look to it. All of the tile pieces are distinct enough (for the most part) in both color and shape, to keep any potential for confusion and wasted time to a minimum. Meanwhile the sprite of Turnstone, as well as her nemesis Shady McGrady, is also very distinct looking. Overall, the visual presentation of the game is solid and pleasing to the eyes.

The game's audio, while not really spectacular, definitely gets the job done. The music is low key and keeps you going at a nice pace, while the various sound effects are distinct enough to work. Ultimately, this is a game that can be played just as well with the music off, which I guess is good for a casual game in case you are trying to sneak in some game time while at work (not that I'm advocating such an act).


Jewels of Cleopatra 2: Aztec Mysteries is, at its core, your standard match-three puzzle casual game. You are presented with a board, and by switching adjacent tiles, you line up three or more pieces to make them disappear. Similar to Jewel Quest, the squares that have been activated are turned gold. Unlike most games of this style, instead of trying to turn all of the squares gold or just collect a certain number of points, you are trying to lay out a path of gold squares for Turnstone to walk through in order to make it to the next level of the temple.

The levels start off fairly small, with only a few screens worth of tiles, but it isn't long before the areas become large and full of traps, critters or switches. Also, scattered throughout each level are larger squares that will send you into one of 12 mini-games. While most of the time you can pass them by if you are running low on time, there are a few that lie in your path to the level's exit. These mini-games are inspired by games like whack-a-mole, slot machines, memory and various other little games that can be picked up pretty easily and typically involve more chance than skill.

There are five temples of levels, and before you leave the temple, you will have three non-standard levels. One is an armadillo race where you point your assistant's pet treasure-hunting armadillo around a small track alongside other armadillos. It's an odd thing to insert into a game like this, but it does break up the potentially repetitive nature of the game. Once you are past the race, you will have to take a carving that Turnstone finds and re-arrange it so it looks correct. Finally, the last level of the temple is just like the normal ones, except your rival McGrady is also trying to get to the exit, except he doesn't have to walk on gold-colored tiles, so the normal race against time is a bit quicker paced.


Jewels of Cleopatra 2: Aztec Mysteries has a really solid, gradual difficulty gradient. Like any good game of this nature, especially casual games, the early levels have only a few unusual mechanics and focus more on the core match-three system. Eventually you will be introduced to spiders that web tile, lizards that freeze them (so they require two clearings before turning gold), switches that turn on lights and start filling up a segment with water.

Before too long, your simple little game will become much more complicated and challenging. Thankfully, the game never seems to get so bad that it seems insurmountable. In fact, there were only a few times when I had to restart a level, and those were typically when I ran into a new obstacle (like the first time the chambers start to flood). But just because I was able to go through most of the game without dying, doesn't mean it wasn't an enjoyable challenge.

Game Mechanics:

Jewels of Cleopatra 2: Aztec Mysteries is very simple when it comes to controls. With your mouse, you click on a tile and drag it in the direction you want it to move. If it is a valid switch, the blocks clear and the tile turns gold. Since your goal is to get Turnstone to the level's exit, you can also use the mouse to tell her where you want her to go. This is done by right clicking on a tile or location on the mini-map. If she can get there, she will walk the distance, but if she is blocked, an arrow will appear displaying what the game believes to be the most efficient route. Don't worry though, if you open up another way, the game quickly recalculates the shortest path and sends her on her way. It really is a nice twist on a fairly established puzzle game style.

If you are the type to download and try these puzzle casual games, then definitely give Aztec Mysteries the trial run. Most likely you will find you have to buy it and keep playing because it really is enjoyable.

-J.R. Nip, GameVortex Communications
AKA Chris Meyer

Minimum System Requirements:

Windows Vista, XP, 2000, 256 MB RAM, 1.0 GHz or faster processor, 16 MB video card, DirectX 8.0 or later

Test System:

Alienware Aurora m9700 Laptop, Windows XP Professional, AMD Turion 64 Mobile 2.41 GHz, 2 GB Ram, Duel NVIDIA GeForce Go 7900 GS 256MB Video Cards, DirectX 9.0c

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